We’ve all been there-you’re at an event, and the host suddenly asks you to say a few words to the crowd. You might know how to prepare for public speaking if you were given days to get ready. But how do you prepare yourself if you get thrust to the stage unexpectedly?
Anticipate the possibility of being called up
There are plenty of possible scenarios that will end up with you having to speak in front of other people, and you have to anticipate that possibility. Here are some of the most common situations that will likely call for an impromptu speech from you:
A social event
You could attend a big birthday party, a wedding, a retirement party, or any other event where the celebrant is closely related to you. You might be very close friends, relatives, or it might be your significant other.
At parties and social gatherings, hosts generally ask other people who are closest to the celebrant to say a few words. In such circumstances, you want to at least be prepared.
Before you even get to the party, think about your fondest memory of the celebrant and how it ties to the event. This way, you will have a couple of good things to say at the back of your mind just in case.
A business event
Business events such as conferences usually have speeches pre-planned. Speakers are given notice of their speaking engagements in advance so that they can prepare. The trouble comes if the appointed speaker could not make it, and you’re the next best person.
You may stumble upon this circumstance if the speaker is your colleague, your direct superior, or one of your peers. Think back to the work you’ve done with him or her so far and try to picture any questions or topics that you may have to cover just in case.
You may not have everything nailed down, but having an idea and a sense of anticipation will give you a boost of confidence and something to work with in case you get called.
Have a simple template on hand
You can never go wrong with having a template that you’ve mastered. You can talk about almost anything instantly if you know how to prepare for public speaking with a trusty speech format. There are plenty of impromptu speaking frameworks you can choose from, but here are some easy ones you can work with:
The PREP framework is a simple yet effective framework for impromptu speech delivery. It’s very straightforward and, therefore, hard to mess up. You state your case, explain why it is so, provide an example to solidify your case, and then wrap it up by restating your argument.
If you happen to have several points for a lengthy discussion, you can still use the format with separate PERPs for each point.
In this framework, you put the issue into perspective. Afterwhich, you go in with pros and cons. After weighing in the benefits and disadvantages, you conclude with a decision and a call-to-action.
The social framework is perfect for social gatherings. An excellent example of this is when you are requested to lead a toast at a wedding. In the social framework, you tell a relevant personal story, explain what it implies, and give an impactful or celebratory finish.
Involve your audience
If you feel like you need a little help to fill in the void and avoid dead air, you can involve your audience through a little Q and A. using this strategy will lift off a bit of the pressure from you to think about what you need to discuss.
You may feel nervous or even afraid of the possibility that you may be met with a tough question, but if you are well-versed in the topic you are asked to speak on, this shouldn’t be a problem. Besides, it is an efficient way to make sure that you cover everything that needs discussion.
Finally, you can also turn the table around and urge your audience to participate by asking them what they think or what they know so that the discussion can be furthered.
Speak from experience
Personal stories are very useful in impromptu speaking situations if you want to learn how to prepare for public speaking under unexpected circumstances. Since they stem from your own personal experiences, you won’t have a hard time telling it. You’ll be working subjectively using your own memory—it would be hard to mess it up.
Telling personal stories makes your speech natural, real, interesting, and, therefore, more compelling. You will find it easier to speak about your experiences, even without practice. However, do try not to ramble on and make sure that your story has relevance to your topic.
When speaking on-the-spot, you can’t expect your delivery to be perfect. You may find yourself stuttering or stammering for words. You might even feel like you sound off or say the wrong words.
What is important is that you go easy on yourself. Do not expect perfection from a spur-of-the-moment address. Setting the bar too high will only place unnecessary pressure and stress on you, causing you to stumble even more. The important thing is that you get your main message across.
If you think you need a bit of a confidence boost to face a crowd for a speech, Conquer Your Fear of Public Speaking With Rule The Room is an online course that teaches you how to prepare for public speaking and aims to increase your confidence and decrease your fear of speaking in public.
Ready to nail your next impromptu speech? Click here to get started.